On The Road: Ruffling a few feathers on a tropical journey in Mozambique
Saturday 04 April 2009
Air travel can get so wearing. Whoever said that half the joy of travelling is the getting there obviously never sat in the back of a 747 with their knees behind their ears and surrounded by screeching kids. It has taken me three airlines and three aircraft to get to Medjumbe Island but suddenly the last flight has become worth doing.
Medjumbe is part of the Quirimbas Archipelago in Northern Mozambique and we are flying low over its 32 islands in a Cessna Grand Caravan. (Yes, it's a plane, with 10 seats.) I would be hanging out the window with the camera if I could but the pilot thinks he's a tour leader. "See that star-shaped building?" he says. "That's Ibo island and the Portuguese built a..." but his voice fades away as he turns back to the controls to land on a minuscule speck of tropical island.
The Caravan skids to a halt on a rustic runway beside a sandspit on Medjumbe Island. There is a snarl of low-lying vegetation, interspersed with beachside cabanas and a surprising number of birds.
The next day I open our cabin doors to reveal a panorama which includes a talcum-powder beach and a turquoise lagoon. A heron glides down to the rocks, then wanders across the sand, stepping slowly on to our deck. I watch, cursing that the camera is closer to the heron than my hand.
Circumnavigating the island disturbs flitting weaver birds and hovering honeyeaters, while reef egrets swoop overhead. At sunset, the tide retreats and the sandspit becomes home to a sea of terns. Thousands arrive, turning the white sand even whiter (albeit dotted with beady black eyes). They resent being disturbed and lift off en masse, squawking their how-dare-yous. After a 180-degree flutter they re-establish themselves further up the beach, evading me – and my camera – again.
Footprint's 'Diving the World' by Beth Tierney and Shaun Tierney (£19.99) is out now
- 1 Revealed: Scientists ‘edit’ DNA to correct adult genes and cure diseases
- 2 David Cameron's constituency office calls police on food bank campaigners Bishop of Oxford and Reverend Keith Hebden
- 3 A bottle of wine a day is not bad for you and abstaining is worse than drinking, scientist claims
- 4 Women take on Bear Grylls over 'sexist' male-only desert island show
- 5 Malaysia Airlines flight MH370: Concerns grow among search officials that missing jet ‘may have landed somewhere else’
Ukip election posters: Nigel Farage defends 'racist' campaign anti-immigration campaign ahead of Europe elections
Is Britain really a land of God? Furious debate after David Cameron claims we are a Christian country
An open letter to Nigel Farage: you may smile, but I am not seduced
'Sinful': Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy comes under attack
David Cameron's constituency office calls police on food bank campaigners Bishop of Oxford and Reverend Keith Hebden
Ukip leader Nigel Farage defends employing German wife, at launch of anti-immigration poster campaign
Unpaid: Kaya Responsible Travel: There are many small development projects in ...
Unpaid: Kaya Responsible Travel: Kaya Responsible Travel offer a variety of sp...
Unpaid: Kaya Responsible Travel: Volunteer with Kaya in Borneo and work on a p...
Unpaid: Kaya Responsible Travel: If you have a passion for elephants and want ...